Monthly Archives: December 2012

Lang Lang

“No matter whether you have talent or not – if you don’t love music, if you don’t have a personality you can’t succeed…” Lang Lang

The third clip in a new series of pianist interviews shared on a Monday as part of The Masters Series. 

Interview with Lang Lang and scholars of the Lang Lang International Music Foundation



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David Ianni

  The Composer – Part2

Are there any issues in the world of music composition that you feel strongly about?

In my early teens I used to be frustrated that contemporary music apparently had to be atonal and cacophonous to be taken seriously. At first I thought that the musicians and critics who seem to enjoy this kind of music are crazy. Or are they fooling the world? Later I assumed that something was wrong with me, since I simply could not understand the “art” of Stockhausen or Boulez for example. But then I realised that it is not my job to “judge” other people’s music or tastes, but to develop my own style and express my musical, emotional and spiritual values through my music, regardless of the styles that are en vogue.

I remember that getting to know the work of Arvo Pärt was a liberating experience for me during that period. His music helped me to understand that a diversity of musical styles is the new reality of contemporary music. There is still a place and a need for tonal beauty in music. David Ianni – Afterthought – SoundCloud – Listen to David’s work!

Can you tell us more about your new album “Prayers of Silence” that will be released in 2013?

My new album will include 15 piano pieces that I have composed over the last five years. As the title suggests, these are mostly quiet and meditative compositions, which revolve around the notion that the mother of all music is silence. The opening piece is called “Obsculta”, the Latin word for “listen”. Didn’t you once twitter about Alfred Brendel’s astute observation that “listen” and “silent” contain the same letters? Even if it is a coincidence, I feel that there is a strong connection between listening and silence, and they are the foremost requirements for music to exist. My music attempts to offer the listener a moment of inner silence and clarity. At its centre, my “Prayers of Silence” are a musical reflection of the evanescence and preciousness of life. 

Whose work do you admire as a composer and why?

I could name a hundred influential personalities that shaped my musical path, but I will limit myself to three outstanding musicians of our time. Being a composer-pianist, Leonard Bernstein has been a great inspiration for me. His music is complex, well crafted and accessible at the same time. As a performer and teacher, he brought the gift of music to millions of people. Then there is John Williams, who even at age eighty draws one immortal melody after the other from the aether as if he were picking cherries from a tree. I have always loved his music. Third on today’s list is Eric Whitacre. His way to reach out to his audience is quite amazing. Whitacre has done a lot for choral music, one of the purest and most beautiful art forms. Classical music will never be mainstreamed, but it is very important to make it accessible to as many people as possible.

It always makes me happy to see young people being moved by beautiful music. Isn’t it wonderful that music can change a life? Every time a musician touches a soul, there must be an angel in heaven rejoicing and praising God’s glory.

Click here to read Part One of interview 

Want to listen to his music? Check out his YouTube channel here

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Evgeny Kissin

Joe Buckingham - Flikr - Under the Creative commons license

Merry Christmas to all PFTI readers.
Photo – Joe Buckingham – Flikr – Under the Creative commons license

I love this Wallcast!The second clip in a new series of pianist interviews shared on a Monday as part of The Masters Series.

Great work once again by MediciTV.

It’s a chance for me to share my favourite pianist interviews published on YouTube. Enjoy!

What is your favourite word?

E.KISSIN – “I don’t know, but I remember that when I was a child – one of my school teachers was complaining that I was saying ‘thank you’ too often and tried to make me say it less often.”



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Martha Argerich

The first in a new series of pianist interviews shared on a Monday night The Masters Series. 

It’s a chance for me to share my favourite pianist interviews published on YouTube. Enjoy!

“What was your first contact with music? “

M.A – It was a game I think. I went to kindergarten – I was extremely young  because I was sort of precocious and I could speak very well. I was 2 and 8 months and so there was someone playing the piano – the teacher and so I heard these children songs, so I was repeating them on the piano. That was the very first… it was a game of course, to play.

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David Ianni

(PART 1)

What motivates you to play piano?

My love for music has shaped my whole life, and it literally draws me to the piano almost every day.

I think about music most of the time, I hear music in my head, even if I am not playing the piano or listening to music. Music is holy to me and I consider it a blessing to be able to play the music by the great masters and to compose my own music.

What motivates you to compose? 

Performing classical music is a wonderful thing, and I couldn’t live without it. However, since I started to play the piano, there has also been this strong urge to create my own music. I wanted to play a kind of music that I could not find in piano literature, so I made it up myself.

My music tries to express the deepest and nameless realms of my soul. There is a sacred space of peace inside every person. I suppose that this sphere of the human interior is a common experience to every human being. That’s why people can connect to my music quite easily. There is a sense of yearning and of fulfillment at the same time.

In essence I feel that my music is prayer. If it helps my listener to communicate with God (or whatever they may call their Creator), I will feel myself all the more richly rewarded.

When did you start composing and why?

I learned to play the piano at nine and started to compose at the same time. It came very naturally. I knew that I wanted to be a composer. Improvising was not enough for me: I was fascinated by the architecture of music and I wanted to evolve and refine my musical ideas in a way that is only possible through composition. The marriage between content and form in music is absolutely fascinating. The emotional impact that music has on us, does not only come through melody and harmony, but mainly through its structure.

The musical ideas that I first hear when I write a new piece, are always part of a bigger architecture, and it is my mission as a composer to “discover” the whole piece. Usually beautiful and perfect proportions will reveal themselves if I only work and listen long enough.

David Ianni




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Ivo Varbanov


Ivo Varbanov

Ivo Varbanov

What motivates you to play Piano?

I love music and arts in general.

Piano is simply a medium for expressing artistic values and ideas. First of all you have to be a all-round human being, then a fine musician, and finally a good pianist to express all. Of course I am fascinated by the instrument – piano, but it is less important than music itself.

Can you tell us more about your work supporting and promoting Bulgarian Art and Culture in the UK, why is this work important to you?

I am very happy that I am able to popularize the so often neglected culture of Bulgaria. I am always happy if I première a Bulgarian contemporary composer in an important concert in New York or London.

Who has influenced you as a pianist the most? (could be a teacher, friend, another pianist or family member)

 The teacher that has influenced me most is Ilonka Deckers with whom I have studied for 6 years in Milan, Italy. She was a student of Prof. István Thomán, one of Liszt favourite students.

An important figures in my life of course is my mother, who is a retired cellist, and she was my first music educator. My wife, Fiammetta Tarli, is also a pianist and she is an extremely intelligent musician and she is of great help in shaping many musical ideas.

Earliest memory involving piano playing? 

When I was 7-8, I did want to play football not the piano, so I was not very consistent with practicing at that time.

Proudest career moment / to date?  The biggest challenge you have overcome (in piano playing). 

The proudest moment of my career is my return to the big stage after a long time due to a very serious illness: Leukemia.

After spending one year in hospital and a bone marrow transplant I was very happy that I managed to recover.

In September 2012 I played an important concert in King’s Place, which was a challenge for me. A 2 hours programme including only Johannes Brahms works like the Sonata Op.1, the Scherzo Op.4, the Paganini Variations and the 6 Chorals Op.122 (transc. Busoni). It was psyco-physically very demanding.

In your opinion, what are the most important qualities in a great pianist? Any tips to young people who want to become concert pianists?

The most important qualities for a pianist are related to his human nature I believe. Most pianists are able to play the piano very well, very few are real artists that are able to understand  the full meaning of the extraordinarily rich musical language that the composers are using. I would suggest to young pianists not to be obsessed with the mechanical aspect of the piano playing, but to work in parallel the real secrets of the musical language and the piano.

What are your favourite pianos to play?

I have been playing mainly so far on Steinways, Bösendorfer, Fazioli, Yamaha and Kawai. Recently I started using Steingraeber from Bayreuth, which is a small artisan manufacturer and the instruments are amazing – incredible pleasure to play and infinite possibilities for colours and dynamics.

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